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Glass is a non-crystalline, often transparent amorphous solid, that has widespread practical, technological, and decorative use in, for example, window panes, tableware, and optics. Glass is most often formed by rapid cooling (quenching) of the molten form; some glasses such as volcanic glass are naturally occurring. The most familiar, and historically the oldest, types of manufactured glass are "silicate glasses" based on the chemical compound silica (silicon dioxide, or quartz), the primary constituent of sand. Soda-lime glass, containing around 70% silica, accounts for around 90% of manufactured glass. The term glass, in popular usage, is often used to refer only to this type of material, although silica-free glasses often have desirable properties for applications in modern communications technology. Some objects, such as drinking glasses and eyeglasses, are so commonly made of silicate-based glass that they are simply called by the name of the material.

Although brittle, silicate glass is extremely durable and many examples of glass fragments exist from early glass-making cultures. Archaeological evidence suggests glass-making dates back to at least 3,600 BC in Mesopotamia, Egypt, or Syria. The earliest known glass objects were beads, perhaps created accidentally during metalworking or the production of faience. Due to its ease of formability into any shape, glass has been traditionally used for vessels, such as bowls, vases, bottles, jars and drinking glasses. In its most solid forms, it has also been used for paperweights and marbles. Glass can be coloured by adding metal salts or painted and printed with vitreous enamels, leading to its use in stained glass windows and other glass art objects.

The refractive, reflective and transmission properties of glass make glass suitable for manufacturing optical lenses, prisms, and optoelectronics materials. Extruded glass fibres have application as optical fibres in communications networks, thermal insulating material when matted as glass wool so as to trap air, or in glass-fibre reinforced plastic (fibreglass).

Glass Media

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Bow Tower.  Calgary., Bernard Spragg Photo

Bow Tower. Calgary., Bernard Spragg Photo

Stretching 58 storeys high into the city skyline, The Bow has set the bar for office towers in Calgary. The architectural wonder, with its diagonal ribbons of crossbracing wrapping around a semicircular glass t... More

Stained glass in Neiman Marcus store, San Francisco, California

Stained glass in Neiman Marcus store, San Francisco, California

Title, date, and keywords provided by the photographer. This stain glass in Neiman Marcus on Union Square, was once in The City of Paris store. The architectural centerpiece of the building is the original rotu... More

Figures

Figures

Author: Henri Le Fauconnier

Roman Beads, 13

Roman Beads, 13

Thirteen mostly opaque beads with wavy lines. Accession Number: 17.194.494

Bead with figure of Harpokrates

Bead with figure of Harpokrates

Gold glass beads were a Hellenistic development. They were created by combining drawn tubes of colorless glass with gold foil. The earliest examples were finished bead by bead. These are all modern stringings; ... More

Glass mosaic carinated bowl fragment

Glass mosaic carinated bowl fragment

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass mosaic bowl fragment

Roman Glass mosaic bowl fragment

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass mosaic fragment

Roman Glass mosaic fragment

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass perfume bottle

Roman Glass perfume bottle

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass pinhead

Roman Glass pinhead

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Glass network mosaic bowl fragment

Glass network mosaic bowl fragment

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Glass Vessel Fragment, New Kingdom, Egypt, 1550  -1070 BC

Glass Vessel Fragment, New Kingdom, Egypt, 1550 -1070 BC

From Egypt; Probably from Upper Egypt, Thebes, Malqata New Kingdom

Fragment of a Cup

Fragment of a Cup

Ancient Rome

Fragment of a Bowl

Fragment of a Bowl

Ancient Rome

Roman Bead

Roman Bead

Accession Number: 17.194.416

Bead with figure of Harpokrates

Bead with figure of Harpokrates

Gold glass beads were a Hellenistic development. They were created by combining drawn tubes of colorless glass with gold foil. The earliest examples were finished bead by bead. These are all modern stringings; ... More

Inlay fragment, Egypt, Ptolemaic Period (332–30 BCE)

Inlay fragment, Egypt, Ptolemaic Period (332–30 BCE)

From Egypt Late Ptolemaic or Roman Period

Inlay fragment, Egypt, Ptolemaic Period (332–30 BCE)

Inlay fragment, Egypt, Ptolemaic Period (332–30 BCE)

From Egypt Late Ptolemaic or Roman Period

Roman Glass spindle whorl

Roman Glass spindle whorl

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Glass dish, 1st century AD

Glass dish, 1st century AD

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass mosaic face bead

Roman Glass mosaic face bead

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass monochrome inlay

Roman Glass monochrome inlay

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass mosaic bowl fragment

Roman Glass mosaic bowl fragment

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass mosaic inlay fragment

Roman Glass mosaic inlay fragment

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass perfume bottle

Roman Glass perfume bottle

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass perfume bottle

Roman Glass perfume bottle

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Glass mosaic ribbed bowl fragment

Glass mosaic ribbed bowl fragment

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass cup, 2nd century

Roman Glass cup, 2nd century

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass mosaic fragment

Roman Glass mosaic fragment

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass mosaic inlay fragment

Roman Glass mosaic inlay fragment

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass mosaic fragment

Roman Glass mosaic fragment

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Glass mosaic ribbed bowl fragment

Glass mosaic ribbed bowl fragment

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass perfume bottle

Roman Glass perfume bottle

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass trulla (pan)

Roman Glass trulla (pan)

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Seal gem

Seal gem

Accession Number: 26.31.194

Disk Brooch with Cameo

Disk Brooch with Cameo

The Langobards often embellished their own jewelry with gems carved centuries earlier by Roman or Etruscan craftsmen. These gems, valued for their antiquity, linked their Langobardic wearers to the illustrious ... More

Vase fragment, New Kingdom, Egypt, 1550  -1070 BC

Vase fragment, New Kingdom, Egypt, 1550 -1070 BC

From Egypt, Memphite Region, Lisht North, Cemetery, MMA excavations New Kingdom, Ramesside

Roman Beads, 9

Roman Beads, 9

These nine beads are mostly cylindrical, with a feather pattern. Accession Number: 17.194.493

Roman Glass one-handled jug

Roman Glass one-handled jug

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass cameo fragment

Roman Glass cameo fragment

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Mold-pressed amulet or fragment

Mold-pressed amulet or fragment

From Egypt Persian-Ptolemaic Period

Roman Mosaic glass bowl

Roman Mosaic glass bowl

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Lump of glass slag, Egypt, Ptolemaic Period (332–30 BCE)
Glass amphoriskos, 1st century AD

Glass amphoriskos, 1st century AD

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass bowl

Roman Glass bowl

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Glass gold-band mosaic bottle

Glass gold-band mosaic bottle

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass monochrome inlay fragment

Roman Glass monochrome inlay fragment

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass mosaic fragment

Roman Glass mosaic fragment

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass network mosaic fragment

Roman Glass network mosaic fragment

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass mosaic dish fragment

Roman Glass mosaic dish fragment

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Glass mosaic ribbed bowl

Roman Glass mosaic ribbed bowl

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Glass striped mosaic bowl fragment

Glass striped mosaic bowl fragment

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Glass pyxis (box with lid)

Glass pyxis (box with lid)

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Fragment of a Plate
Roman Necklace

Roman Necklace

Glass objects, Roman Empire.

Roman Beads, 11

Roman Beads, 11

Blue graded beads covered with knobs. Accession Number: 17.194.523

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